Emotional Healing For Happiness In Midlife

Emotional Healing For Happiness In Midlife

Emotional healing for happiness in midlife

Welcome fabulous ladies to this post where we’re going to dive into the incredible journey of emotional healing and how it can bring you lasting joy and fulfilment. So, let’s explore the transformative power of healing together!

 

Healing for wellness: the mind-body connection

Picture this: your mind and body working in perfect harmony, like the ultimate BFF duo. Healing for wellness recognises that our emotions and physical wellbeing are deeply intertwined.

It’s all about giving yourself the love and care you deserve, both inside and out.

By addressing emotional wounds, traumas, and those limiting beliefs, you’re paving the way for an incredible shift in your overall wellness.

So get ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing that will leave you feeling more vibrant and alive than ever before!

 

Why healing matters in midlife

Now, let’s talk about why healing is so important for us midlife women. This phase of life brings with it a unique set of experiences and challenges.

You might find yourself at a crossroads, questioning your purpose, and yearning for a deeper sense of fulfilment. It’s perfectly normal to feel a mix of emotions – from excitement to uncertainty – as you navigate this transformative period.

But here’s the truth: healing can be the key that unlocks the door to a whole new world of possibilities.

 

The impact of unaddressed emotional wounds

Okay, let’s get real for a moment. Life often throws some curveballs our way, and many of us end up carrying emotional wounds from the past.

These wounds, if left unaddressed, can act like heavy baggage, weighing us down and preventing us from experiencing true happiness.

They can manifest as self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and even physical ailments.

But fear not! Healing those wounds can set you free, allowing you to step into your power and create a life filled with love, joy, and fulfilment.

 

What Happens if You Don’t Heal

Now, let’s shine a light on what happens if you choose not to embark on a healing journey.

Picture another scenario: you continue to carry those emotional burdens, burying them deeper and deeper within yourself.

Over time, they start to seep into every aspect of your life, affecting your relationships, your wellbeing, and your overall happiness.

It’s like carrying around a heavy backpack that’s weighing you down, preventing you from reaching your full potential.

But guess what? You have the power to change that narrative. You have the power to heal and create a life that is truly aligned with your heart’s desires.

 

Geting Started on Your Healing Journey

Are you ready to take the first step on your healing journey? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Embrace self-love and treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would offer to a close friend.

2. Seek Support: Healing doesn’t have to be a solo mission. In fact, it really shouldn’t be. Reach out to trusted friends, family, or seek support from professionals who can provide the support and guidance you need.

3. Embrace Mindfulness: Cultivate a practice of being present in the moment. Engage in activities that bring you joy, whether it’s a walk in nature, practicing meditation, or indulging in a creative outlet.

 

The transformation awaits

As you embark on your healing journey, get ready for a remarkable transformation. Picture a life where you’ve released those emotional burdens, tapped into your inner strength, and embraced a newfound sense of joy and fulfilment.

 

Healing for happiness coaching

Discover the power of a mind-body approach, bridging science and spirituality, and gain practical tips to initiate your healing process.

Unleash your true potential, find inner peace, and embark on a journey of self-discovery towards a happier and more fulfilling life.

Happiness Is An Inside Job

Happiness Is An Inside Job

We all want to be happy, right? But what if I told you that happiness is an inside job?

 

Yes, it’s true. Happiness begins within yourself.

Happiness isn’t something that can be found outside of you. And it’s not something that someone else can give you.

You won’t find it in material possessions, relationships, or achievements. Sure, these can bring temporary pleasure and satisfaction, but they’re not the key to sustained happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind that you can cultivate through the thoughts you think, the emotions you feel, and the actions you take.

So, what does it take to be truly happy?

The answer lies within you. Here are some tips to help you start cultivating happiness from within: 

Practice gratitude:

Take a moment each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It can be anything from having a good cup of coffee to having a supportive friend.

When we focus on what we’re thankful for, we’re less likely to get bogged down by what we lack or what we want.  Focusing on the positive things in your life can help shift your perspective and make you feel happier.

 

Think positive thoughts:

Choose your thoughts wisely as they have a powerful impact on how you feel and behave. Negative thoughts can really bring you down, while positive ones can lift you up. When you catch yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, try to reframe them in a more positive light. Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be able to do this,” try thinking “I may not be able to do this right now, and I might struggle at first, but I can learn and improve.”

 

Take care of your body:

Your physical health and mental health are closely connected. When you take care of your body through healthy habits like regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep, you’re more likely to feel good both physically and mentally. Exercise, for example, releases endorphins that can boost mood and reduce stress. Eating a healthy diet can provide the nutrients your body and brain need to function at their best. Getting enough sleep can improve mood, memory, and cognitive function.

 

Connect with others:

Humans are social creatures, and having positive relationships and meaningful connections are essential for happiness. Spending time with friends and family can provide support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging.

Positive social interactions can also boost mood and reduce stress. So make time for friends and family, and seek out opportunities to meet new people.

 

Do things that bring you joy:

Spending time doing things that you love and enjoy is a simple but powerful way to boost happiness.

Whether it’s reading, being creative, playing a sport, taking time to do things you enjoy can give you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. Doing things that you find meaningful and purposeful can also give you a sense of accomplishment and contributes to overall wellbeing.

 

Happiness is not a destination! 

Remember, happiness is not a destination. It’s not about reaching a certain goal or acquiring a certain possession.

It’s about finding joy in the present moment and having a positive outlook on life.

By focusing on the things within your control, you can create a life that is full of happiness, fulfilment, and meaning. So, go out there and start capturing those moments of happiness!

Happiness

Happiness

Hey there, lovely people! Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most essential things in life – happiness!

Yes, you read it right! Being happy is crucial, and it’s not just a fleeting emotion or a state of mind; it’s a way of life. And I’m here to tell you why it’s so important, especially for midlife women!

 

Why happiness matters

First things first, let’s talk about why happiness matters, regardless of age or gender. Studies have shown that happiness can have numerous benefits, both physical and mental.

It reduces stress, improves overall wellbeing, and helps prevent illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Happy people are also more productive, creative, and have stronger relationships with others.

 

Happiness for midlife women

Now, why is it particularly crucial for midlife women?

Well, for starters, midlife can be a challenging time for women. Hormonal changes, career changes, and family responsibilities can all contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.

But the good news is that happiness can help combat these negative emotions and improve overall quality of life.

 

Benefits of prioritising happiness

When women prioritise their happiness, they experience benefits such as increased self-esteem, better relationships, and greater life satisfaction.

They’re also better equipped to handle the inevitable challenges that come with midlife, such as caring for aging parents or facing health concerns.

 

When we don’t focus on happiness

Of course, we can’t talk about happiness without acknowledging the pain points that can come with not prioritising it.

Without happiness, women may experience feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction, and even hopelessness. They may struggle to find joy in their everyday lives or feel like they’re simply going through the motions.

 

Ways to prioritise happiness

But fear not, my friends! There are plenty of ways to prioritise happiness and start experiencing its benefits.

Gratitude

One simple way is to practice gratitude. Taking a few moments each day to reflect on the good things in our lives can help shift our focus from negative to positive.

Joy

Another great way to boost happiness is to engage in activities that bring us joy. Whether it’s taking a dance class, reading a book, or spending time with loved ones, doing things that make us happy can have a significant impact on our overall well-being.

Self-care

Lastly, it’s essential to prioritize self-care. This can look different for everyone, but some ideas include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking time for relaxation and self-reflection.

 

All that shows that happiness is critical, and it’s especially important for midlife women.

Prioritising happiness can have numerous benefits, and not doing so can lead to negative emotions and experiences.

But with a little effort and some simple steps, we can all start prioritising happiness and experiencing its many rewards.

So go ahead and start today – your future self will thank you!

Stress. It’s not all in your head.

Stress. It’s not all in your head.

Stress. It’s not all in your head. Far from it. 

While stress is commonly associated with psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, it can also have a significant impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing.

 

MIND BODY CONNECTION

There is a strong connection between the body and mind, and research has shown that the state of the body can have an impact on the mind.

The mind-body connection refers to the idea that our mental and emotional states can affect our physical health and vice versa. This means that the health of our mind and body are closely connected and can influence each other.

For example, stress and negative emotions can affect our physical health by increasing the production of stress hormones. The stress hormone cortisol can impact on various bodily systems, including the immune system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system, which can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach-aches, and a weakened immune system.

On the other hand, physical illness or injury can also affect our mental and emotional wellbeing, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, or frustration.

Additionally, stress can also interfere with brain function and cognitive abilities, leading to problems with memory, focus, and decision-making.

Here are some of the many physical and emotional symptoms of stress.

 

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF STRESS

– Headaches
– Muscle tension and pain
– Chest pain or heart palpitations
– Fatigue
– Insomnia or disturbed sleep
– Stomach problems, such as nausea, indigestion, and diarrhoea
– Skin breakouts, such as hives and rashes
– Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction

 

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS OF STRESS

– Anxiety
– Depression
– Irritability and anger
– Restlessness and nervousness
– Lack of motivation or interest in life
– Increased feelings of sadness or hopelessness
– Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
– Negative self-talk and low self-esteem

 

IMPACTS OF STRESS

Chronic stress can lead to a range of health problems and can have a significant impact on our daily life. It is important that we are able to recognise the symptoms of stress and seek help if needed to manage its impact on our health, wellbeing and quality of life.

– Chronic stress can lead to a range of health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Stress can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
Chronic stress can also contribute to depression and anxiety, as well as other mental health conditions.
– Stress can interfere with relationships and cause strain and conflict in personal and professional relationships.
– It can also lead to decreased productivity, as stress can make it difficult to focus and complete tasks efficiently.

All of which makes it abundantly clear that stress is not just “all in your head.”

 

HEALING FROM STRESS

Healing from stress for midlife women can improve emotional wellbeing, reduce anxiety, increase self-awareness and self-esteem, better relationships with others, and improve physical health.

Mindset techniques such as positive thinking, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioural therapy can help women manage and overcome negative thought patterns and emotions.

Healing practices such as yoga, meditation, and therapy can also help women process and release past traumas, and develop greater self-compassion and self-acceptance.

Additionally, many women find that as they age, they become more self-confident and self-assured, and are better able to set boundaries and make choices that align with their values and needs.

CREATE YOUR PERSONAL WELLNESS PLAN

✨ Create a crystal clear vision for the healthy, happy, balanced life you want to live
✨ Uncover the key stressors and main challenges that are sabotaging your health and life goals right now
✨ You’ll leave the session renewed, re-energised and inspired to finally make life changes to regain your health, energy and purpose once and for all

How To Overcome Overwhelm & Take Back Control

How To Overcome Overwhelm & Take Back Control

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Stressed? Worried? Anxious?

 

There are times in your life when you can feel such intense overwhelm that it seems impossible to quieten your thoughts for long enough to be able to see a way through.

It’s hard to allow yourself to aside time to sit still when you’re spinning in overwhelm. But please, give yourself 20 minutes to complete this exercise to help you take back control.

It’s short and simple but very effective. It will help you identify what is within your control so that you can let go of what is not.

(Grab a FREE workbook to guide you through these tips.)

 

STEP 1: WHAT’S ON MY MIND?

Make a list of all the things that are contributing to your worries and feelings of overwhelm. Everything.

It could be that you’re worrying about work issues, lack of work or financial worries. You might be worrying about someone you care about, what’s going to happen during Covid, appointments you need to make, feeling tired, feeling unwell, things you think you should be doing, feelings of guilt etc.

ACTION: Take the time to write EVERYTHING down no matter how small, irrational or ridiculous it might seem right now. Emptying this list onto paper is a very effective way of clearing that incessant chatter in your head.

Done? Great. These are your WORRY ITEMS.

 

STEP 2: EXERCISE — CONTROL, INFLUENCE OR CONCERN

In your workbook, on the Circle of Influence image (page 6) you’ll see a larger version of the 3 circles or sections pictured below.

 

We’re going to categorise each WORRY ITEM into one of these three headings.

1. This is within my control (CONTROL)
2. I can influence this (INFLUENCE)
3. Everything else (CONCERN)

ACTION: Now work through the list of WORRY ITEMS you prepared in STEP 1. Which Section do they fit?

1. Circle of Control:

  • Do you have complete CONTROL over the worry item?
  • Can you resolve it on their own without needing anyone else’s help or input?

If so, write the Worry Item down within the first circle labelled “WITHIN MY CONTROL” and move onto the next item.

2. Circle of Influence:

  • Do you have PARTIAL control or can you INFLUENCE the outcome of the worry item?
  • Can you partly resolve the worry item or can you influence the outcome through their actions or behaviour?

If so, write this item within the second circle labelled “I CAN INFLUENCE” and move onto the next worry on your list.

3. Circle of Concern: Everything else…

  • Is the worry item COMPLETELY OUTSIDE of your CONTROL INFLUENCE?
  • Is there nothing you can do or say that could directly impact this worry?

Write this item in the outside circle labelled EVERYTHING ELSE

Work through your list and write each of your WORRY ITEMS in the circle that represents if you can CONTROL it, INFLUENCE it or it’s everything else (CONCERN).

 

STEP 3: TAKING CONTROL

Once you’ve placed all of your ‘Worry Items’ in the circles, take a few moments to review your Circles of Influence.

ACTION:

  • List the worry items you DO have CONTROL over
  • IDENTIFY one ACTION,however small, for each item.

TIP: It’s helpful to action ONE of these today…or even RIGHT NOW. You’ll feel instantly feel better.

STEP 4: PLANNING TO INFLUENCE

Now, let’s review the items you have INFLUENCE / PARTIAL control over:

ACTION:

Write down what steps you will take and exactly when you will do them — today or in the next few days.

 

STEP 5: LETTING GO

Finally…and most importantly…

LET GO of EVERYTHING ELSE!

This is the most difficult part for many of us. But remember, you’ve already assessed that you have no control over these items. So why hold on? Why let them take up time on you list and on your mind?

Let Go.

QUESTION: How does it FEEL to LET GO of things you have no CONTROL over?

TIP: If you’re using the Workbook, after striking out the Everything Else items, you could cut out around the edge of the grey INFLUENCE circle. Then keeping the CONTROL and INFLUENCE circles, scrunch or tear up the rest of the page and put Everything Else in the bin. This is a powerful way to LET GO.

Grab the gorgeous free workbook here.

 

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Top 10 Stress Busting Tips

Top 10 Stress Busting Tips

WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress is defined as “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them…” (HSE UK).

The pressures you’re dealing with may come from a number of different sources, and when their combined effect is overwhelming, stress occurs.

Stress is an unhealthy state of body, or mind, or both so managing the stress of work and life are essential to your wellbeing.

SO HOW CAN WE MANAGE STRESS?

Here are ten positive approaches to managing stress from ISMAUK (International Stress Management Association.

 

1. Learn to manage your time more effectively
We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, do not put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.

 

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep and rest, our body is then better able to cope with stress, should it occur. If this is not the case, then this may be a warning sign so don’t ignore it. Engaging in some form of physical activity may help you by working off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques, include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies can all help.

 

3. Know your limitations and do not take on too much
We can cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we do not want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively and be assertive so that you can say ‘No’ without feeling guilty yourself, or upsetting or offending others.

 

4. Find out what causes you stress
Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour(s) to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, the implications to your health and how to manage, cope and make any necessary changes.

 

5. Avoid unnecessary conflict
Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win – win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.

 

6. Accept the things you cannot change
Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced.

 

7. Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries
You will perform more effectively during work if you regularly take a short 10 / 15 minute break, easily making up the time you used relaxing. Alongside this, at least one annual break of at least 10-14 continuous days is recommended.

 

8. Find time to meet friends
Friends can ease work troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress.

 

9. Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style
If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to afriend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent ill health and / or burnout.

 

10. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms
Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants – too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response, increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant.

**Download free PDF**
Top-Ten-Stress-Busting-Tips-F2-ISMAUK

Overcoming Overwhelm: Circle of Influence

Overcoming Overwhelm: Circle of Influence

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Worried? Anxious?

 

This FREE Circle of Influence workbook will help you identify what is within your control so that you can let go of what is not.

There are certain times in your life when you can feel such overwhelm that it seems impossible to quieten your thoughts for long enough to be able to see a way through.

Give yourself 20 minutes to complete this exercise to help you take back control.

It’s short and simple but very effective. It will help you identify what is within your control so that you can let go of what is not.

 

STEP 1: WHAT’S ON MY MIND?

Calmly consider a list of all the things that are contributing to your worries and feelings of overwhelm.

It could be worrying about running out of food, worry about someone you care about, what’s going to happen, the dentist appointment you cancelled but can’t reschedule yet, homeschooling, feeling tired, work issues, lack of work, financial worries, feelings of guilt etc.

ACTION: Take the time to write EVERYTHING down no matter how small, irrational or ridiculous it might seem right now. Emptying this list onto paper is a very effective way of clearing that incessant chatter in your head.

These are your WORRY ITEMS.


STEP 2: EXERCISE

In your workbook, on the Circle of Influence image (page 6) you’ll see a larger version of the 3 circles or sections pictured below.

CONTROL, INFLUENCE OR CONCERN

One by one assess each WORRY ITEM and decide if:

– It is within my control (CONTROL)
– I can influence (INFLUENCE)
– Everything else (CONCERN)

ACTION: Next, work through the list of WORRY ITEMS you prepared in STEP 1.

1. Circle of Control:
Do you have complete CONTROL over the worry item?
Can you resolve it on their own without needing anyone else’s help or input?
If so, write the Worry Item down within the first circle labelled “WITHIN MY CONTROL” and move onto the next item.

2. Circle of Influence: 
Do you have PARTIAL control or can you INFLUENCE the outcome of the worry item?
Can you partly resolve the worry item or can you influence the outcome through their actions or behaviour?
If so, write this item within the second circle labelled “I CAN INFLUENCE” and move onto the next worry on your list.

3. Circle of Concern: Everything else…
Is the worry item COMPLETELY OUTSIDE of your CONTROL INFLUENCE?
Is there nothing you can do or say that could directly impact this worry?
Write this item in the outside circle labelled EVERYTHING ELSE

Write each of your WORRY ITEMS in the circle that represents if you can CONTROL it, INFLUENCE it or it’s everything else (CONCERN).

S T E P 3 : T A K I N G  C O N T R O L

Once you’ve placed all of your ‘Worry Items’ in the circles, take a few moments to review your Circles of Influence.

ACTION: List the worry items you DO have CONTROL over and IDENTIFY an ACTION,however small, for each item.

TIP: It’s helpful to action ONE of these today…or even RIGHT NOW, to help you instantly feel better.

STEP 4: PLANNING TO INFLUENCE

Now, let’s review the items you have INFLUENCE / PARTIAL control over:

ACTION: Write down what steps you will take and exactly when you will do them – today or in the next few days.

STEP 5: LETTING GO

Finally…and most importantly…

 LET GO of EVERYTHING ELSE!

QUESTION:  How does it FEEL to LET GO of things you have no CONTROL over?

TIP: After striking out the Everything Else items, you could cut out around the edge of the grey INFLUENCE circle. Then keeping the CONTROL and INFLUENCE circles, scrunch or tear up the rest of the page and put Everything Else in the bin. This is a powerful way to LET GO.

Grab the gorgeous free workbook here.

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LSW Mind Cards: Positive Actions for Happiness & Fulfilment

LSW Mind Cards: Positive Actions for Happiness & Fulfilment

*This post may contain affiliate links which could earn me a small commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

LSW Mind Cards might just be my new favourite thing.

They’re beautifully designed cards created to help you to become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings, take back control of your happiness, focus on the present and spread positivity throughout your life.

You get 45 gorgeous individually designed cards presented in a beautiful box.

The cards cover 5 inspiring, thought provoking categories:

* Kindness
* Ritual
* Gratitude
* Journal
* Reflection

I’ve written about all of these categories before, raving about the benefits of developing a daily practice incorporating all these elements. These beautiful, inspiring LSW Mind Cards give you the tools to guide you through that practice.

Each day, you select one of the LSW Mind Cards at random and take the action stated on the card. Building the habit of making positive choices each day will help you lead a more fulfilling and happier life.

Facing into mental illness

Facing into mental illness

Things don’t have to stay the same…

I met one of my closest friends when I interviewed her for a job, two and a half years ago. (Let’s just call her B, as her story isn’t mine to share). B got the job. Before she started, she asked me why I had such an interest in Mental Health. I shared that I had suffered with depression and anxiety, she shared her own experiences with mental illness. We bonded. And I can see now that before we even started working together, we had a more honest, authentic understanding of each other than most people will ever have.

That understanding has grown exponentially as we’ve supported each other through challenging work, life and personal experiences over the last few years. But we’ve shared them all with the same honesty and openness that created our friendship.

Mental Health in the Workplace

At the time, I was leading a mental health project in work. The company was introducing an amazing programme to actively support student residents with their mental health. I recognised that we couldn’t expect our people to deliver that support without giving them the necessary knowledge, tools, language and support to do so. We rolled out mental health first aid training, well-being initiatives and invited two well known mental illness charities to work in partnership with us.

But we had to find a way to start having conversations about mental health. Despite being so open about my mental illness with my immediate team, I had only recently shared my experiences with others on the executive team. I was asked if I would consider talking about my mental health on a video that would be shared at our annual staff conference event. I froze. I don’t do video. But I knew that this would be a powerful way to start conversations about mental health.

I didn’t realise just how powerful. The video was shown to almost 200 people in a darkened room, while I found an even darker spot to hide in the back of the room. That video opened so many conversations. In one evening, two older men spoke to me about their experiences of PTSD and eating disorders. Other people openly talked about self-harm and suicide attempts. It was as though, speaking openly about experience of mental illness had given others permission to share without fear of judgement.

It wasn’t one of my most enjoyable nights out! But it was liberating and really powerful for me personally. But still I kept some things back. In one-on-one conversations or in coaching, I would be very open. But more publicly, I kept parts back, just for me.

The impact on other people

But with my friend B, there is no filter. Never has been. And we’ve realised that’s been pretty powerful for other people. When I first met her now-husband, he had never, ever witnessed such a conversation. He was amazed at how we talked about mental health “as if you’re talking about a headache!” That threw the door wide open for him to start doing the same, which ultimately helped him in being much more proactive about his own mental healthcare and wellbeing.

Just last weekend, two lifelong friends visited me for a weekend and B came to meet them for the first time. Our story wouldn’t be complete without sharing how we’ve supported each other through major challenges over the past few years. I hope that we share the stories with a lot of humour, honesty, realism and compassion. But we share the stories warts and all.

When B left, my two friends commented on how open she had been (they know my story). They then spoke more openly than I have ever heard either be about their own mental health and challenges. It already sounded like they were adopting a more forward-thinking approach, both accepting that they didn’t have to settle for the current state and recognising that there were other options. These options wouldn’t be easy, they wouldn’t be certain to work, they might take time but both seemed to seriously consider that they didn’t have to ‘exist’ as they have been for another 20+ years.

Just one week later, they’ve both taken huge steps to make positive changes. One has already planned an extended career break to focus on herself and her family and work out what her future could look like if she considered part-time employment. The other has already been to counselling for the first time ever and has made an appointment with her GP to consider ceasing/changing medication (which isn’t working) and to work out if she might be perimenopausal.

Massive steps. Immediate action. Triggered by powerful conversations.

When I was leading the mental health project in work and filming the video, someone warmly joked that I was the “Face of the Mentals”. If finally having the courage to share my story, can help even one person feel brave enough to try to change their story, then I’m proud to be so.

I also realise through recent CBT that I emotionally detach when I talk about my periods of mental illness. It’s how I can get the words out without crumbling. But I’m working on that. Still I’m learning, still I’m growing.

Avoiding mental illness doesn’t help. You can’t run away from it, you carry it with you.

So lean in. Face in. Talk.

Top 10 Stress Busting Tips

My Personal Journey: Healing From Breakdown & Suicidal Thoughts To Mental Wellbeing

Original post shared on World Suicide Prevention Day (2019)

 
*This post may contain affiliate links which could earn me a small commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.


Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

And if I don’t share my real story with you today then I never will… I’ve been absent from social media for quite some time. Late last year, for the first time, I began to experience suicidal thoughts daily. This lasted for about 5-6 months.

I’m better now and have been for about 6 months. I just had to take some extra time away to make sure it stayed that way by continuing to protect my mental health, wellbeing, time and energy.


My story, my symptoms, my struggle:

Sometimes there may not be a ‘reason’ why you’re feeling this way right now. Mine was probably a combination of multiple triggers.

I left my career as HR Director 15 months ago. For about a year before making the decision to change careers, I was crumbling emotionally and physically, but I kept powering on. It’s only when I finally stopped that I felt the full traumatic effects of corporate burnout and PTSD.

And as if that wasn’t enough to deal with, the menopause hit me…hard. Anxiety, depression, headaches, hot flushes, night sweats, panic attacks, joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, low libido, insomnia & more! I saw a few GPs who repeatedly insisted that I was too young (45 when symptoms started), regardless that my blood test results told a different story. These GPs sent me away each time with prescriptions for anti-depressants. But you know your own body, and I knew mine. I knew anti-depressants might alleviate some symptoms, but not the underlying cause, which I felt certain was perimenopause.

That meant I was going through a number of major life changes while dealing with the simultaneous avalanches of burnout, PTSD and intense perimenopausal symptoms. They share similar symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and insomnia, so together they dealt me a triple whammy.

I’ve experienced periods of depression and anxiety over many years, so I had reasonable confidence that these episodes would pass. The depression and anxiety ‘only’ appeared for a few weeks at a time but it was during those times that I became really concerned that I might not be strong enough to fight the suicidal thoughts.
6 years ago, I lost an ex-boyfriend to suicide. Over recent years, I’ve lost work colleagues and supported other colleagues who had lost close family members. I’ve supported close friends through periods of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. I worked in student accommodation and was responsible for supporting employees who were immediately affected when we tragically lost young residents through suicide.

Around this time, I attended a workshop on Postvention which promotes intervention on the basis that family and friends of the suicide victim may be at risk themselves. Perhaps, having had so many exposures to suicide and bereavement, I was more at risk myself.

I’ve been shocked and concerned by how women share that they’ve been having suicidal thoughts or ideations when they join our FB group and tell me about their current challenges. I hoped to reach personally and privately out to each and every one of them but the group grew so quickly, I’m not even close to reaching most of them yet.

I’m normally upfront in talking about mental illness. I’ve been involved with a few amazing mental illness charities and I fronted a campaign for mental health in the workplace where I spoke publicly about my own struggles.

But this time was different. The social isolation, guilt, sleep interruption and nightmares were unfamiliar symptoms.

However, it was the social anxiety that really isolated me. I’ve never been particularly active on social media so believe me, I know how bizarre it is that I set up an online business and Facebook group. I pushed myself too far out of my comfort zone into the world of social media at a time when I wasn’t well enough to handle it.

The social anxiety seemed to grow into a social media anxiety that led to me retreating offline and away from our FB group, which simply served to heighten my social isolation.

During this time I read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Brené Brown’s words affected me deeply.

“Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our shame, the story metastasizes.” I could recognise my shame growing but couldn’t find my voice to share my story.

Shame can’t survive being spoken. But I believed that to host a group and have a voice online, I had to be seen to be strong, to be invincible. I felt that I was expected to have it all sorted. When I didn’t.

It’s easy to look back now and recognise just how much I was going through…significant life changes, PTSD, spiritual awakening, menopause, setting up a new business on my own.

I felt I didn’t know enough about my own challenges to advise, especially when I was still finding my own way through. But what I’ve realised is that I’m going to be on this journey for life and sometimes I’ll lose my way. But I’ll always find my way back, or find my way onto another path.

Ironically, I realised much later that I went into hiding from the very group where I could have got invaluable support. And in doing so, I kept my story from those who may have gained strength or understanding from it.

So I kept quiet, then didn’t know how to find my voice again on the way out.

 

My road to recovery

Thanks to all the spiritual and soul work I’ve practiced over the past year, while battling these thoughts, I just gave myself permission to prioritise myself and prioritise my own health.

There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. So on a few of those days, I gave myself permission to just stay in bed. Permission to keep myself safe and allow myself that time to get well. Strangely, most times I gave myself that permission, I felt well enough to get up.

Alcohol: I had stopped exercising, wasn’t eating as healthily as normal, and found myself drinking in an unhealthy way. I wasn’t drinking huge amounts but I recognised that I was self-medicating with alcohol to escape from my own perpetual thoughts, and that’s when I sought CBT.

I self-referred myself for CBT. The programme I signed up to wasn’t right for me, but the counsellor was. I give gratitude every single day that he was brought into my life. So much so, that I’m now studying a Mindfulness based CBT diploma so that I can share some of these powerful techniques with others.

Avoidance: I tried not to allow myself to really consider how I might take action if it ever got to that stage. I also threw out almost every medication that I had in the house.

Perimenopause: I (literally) begged my medical practice for an appointment with a women’s health expert and started HRT (in my case Oestrogel & the Mirena coil for Progesterone). HRT very quickly worked miracles for me, my energy and my sanity and I will definitely write more about that later.

Exercise: Almost as soon as I’d started the HRT, I refound my energy for exercise. I now walk 4-5 miles in green spaces at least 5 times a week. Even in the rain. I get fresh air, exercise and the grounding benefits of nature.

Yoga: After my Yoga Teacher Training I’d stopped practicing properly for months. I think I was partly afraid of another injury after tearing my hamstring. Ironically it was another injury that made me determined to get back into shape and improve my strength and flexibility. And now I’ve rediscovered so many benefits of my daily yoga practice.

Clients: I also knew that I had a responsibility to prioritise my time and save my energy for my paying clients who had trusted me to guide them through their own challenges. It’s an honour every single day to be invited to share in someone’s journey and I wanted to be able to show up fully to serve them. Which brought me purpose, so important when you’ve feel you’ve lost your way.

If you’re coming out of a stressful or traumatic experience, please seek help to support you through the impact it can have on your emotional, physical and mental health.

In my case, I recovered through rest, CBT, HRT, a healthy, more active lifestyle, prioritising myself, my health and my clients.

 

What next?

So it turned out that I needed to follow my own advice and slow down, do the inner work (again) and do some heavy lifting in my personal life. This work is challenging but so important to do if you want to live a fulfilled and happy life and, now I’m out the other side, I can see how very necessary the process was, and I’m so grateful that I had all of the tools I needed at my fingertips.

That gave me the time to rethink my business model too. I’ve refined my niche and want to specialise in working with successful women who are suffering from corporate burnout or overwhelm and want to regain balance in their lives. I’ve been lucky that my new business has taken off so well but that’s given me the chance to realise that I’d prefer to work with even fewer people at any one time so that I can devote more time to holding out a metaphorical hand whenever it’s needed.

I had originally planned to work with a small number of 1:2:1 clients and deliver group programmes online but for now I’ve decided against the group programmes as I personally don’t want people ‘disappearing’ within a large group. I prefer to get to know them and their stories so I can be of service however they truly need be. And every person is different, I want to be able to intuitively adapt to that.

Now that I’ve stripped back my lifestyle so much, I’ve been lucky to realise that the most precious thing to me is time. Time for my daily practices and especially time I can spend over a coffee or glass of wine with close friends and family. I’ve been working about 5 or 6 hours a day and I’d like to keep working fewer hours, while making these coaching and personal growth tools and programmes accessible to many more people.

So I’m going to be giving away lots of resources and tools for free on my website and within this group, then I’ll be bundling some of them up into affordable digital courses.

“Life is difficult.”

That’s the opening line in The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (Classic Edition) by M. Scott Peck.

“Once we truly see this truth…once we truly understand it and accept it – then life is no longer difficult”. “Life is a series of problems… and it is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning…It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.”

This year I have taken the time to reconnect with myself – mind, body and soul. I’ve really tuned in and learned to trust myself and I’ve grown mentally and spiritually. “Life is difficult”. But we don’t have to face it alone…

I’ve been away from actively participating in our FB group for such a long time but I have been checking in behind the scenes while I was getting myself back to full health. Thanks to all of the incredible ladies who have kept this group alive with your inspirational posts and quotes. I’ve lost count of the number of times I checked in and was brought exactly the message I needed, precisely when I needed them most. And thanks to those who have messaged me personally. You know who you are. I feel truly blessed to have such generosity of knowledge, spirit and energy brought into my life.

Yet, in choosing not to reveal my struggles, I missed out on the chance to get the support from this amazing, supportive movement of women and also to share my story with those who might recognise themselves in it.

I thought I had to be more. More spiritual, more learned, more educated, more experienced, more balanced, more successful, more visible, more everything! I was exhausted trying to be who I thought I should be, who I thought people wanted me to be. When my work is to enable women to find themselves and be themselves.

To “Be More You”.

So this is me. Authentic. Flawed. Vulnerable. Imperfect. Content. Exposed. Alive. And finally very much at peace with myself and my life…


J xx

 


How to help yourself if you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts:

  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Help and support is available.
  • Phone a helpline.
  • Seek medical advice.
  • Don’t make a decision today. You don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. If you’ve had these thoughts before, you’ll know that you might be better able to cope in a few days.
  • If you have a crisis plan or care plan in place, follow this. If you don’t have a crisis plan, you could make one.
  • Avoid any triggers, whatever makes you feel worse.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Get yourself to a safe place or be around other people.
  • Give yourself permission to stop. Just get through today, try not to think about the future.
  • Do something you enjoy, like spending time with a pet or getting out in nature.
  • Do something that will help take your mind off how you are feeling.
  • Longer term, consider counselling or CBT if it’s available to you
  • Get moving – unfortunately it’s when you feel least like exercising that you could benefit from it most. Try it is you can to release some ‘feel good’ hormones.
Time To Change How We Talk About Mental Health

Time To Change How We Talk About Mental Health

time to change 

When I lived in the UK, I was very lucky to spend time volunteering with Time to Change (UK).

Time To Change, are a movement of people passionate about changing how we all think and act about mental health problems.

They encourage people to have conversations about mental health, just as they would about their physical health, believing that one conversation has the power to change someone’s life.

Shame & silence

Statistics show us that as many as 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year, yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself.

I was always very private about my own mental illness, only sharing it with a handful of people close to me. But a couple of years ago I was lucky to be asked to lead a mental health project in the workplace.

Sharing my story

As part of that, I was asked if I’d consider sharing my story and having it filmed. The video was shown at our annual staff day in front of about 160 people!

That video started some truly touching conversations. That evening I had someone tell me about their long history with PTSD and another man in his fifties share his history with anorexia. And it was only the beginning. So many people came to talk to me, trusting that their own mental health would accepted and supported in the workplace and so relieved to finally feel able to share their stories openly.

Free to be myself

And it was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. Because it allowed me to stop ‘hiding’ and gave me the freedom to start being myself. My depression doesn’t visit so often and my anxiety doesn’t get a grip on me for just as long these days, but they’re still occasional visitors. I’m still shedding old thoughts and behaviours. And rediscovering the real me, my true authentic self, one layer at a time.

Midlife – The Messy Middle is a closed group for women, so please come join our conversation. And remember you’re not alone, lots of others in the group have experienced their own mental health problems.

So how are you feeling today? How are you really feeling?

 

*Note: Time to Change are led by 2 UK mental health charities, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. They have a vast library of resources online, and can signpost you to other professional or medical support services.

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